Robert McCrum is the associate editor of The Observer (London) and co-author of the bestseller The Story of English, a history of the English language, that went on to be adapted into an Emmy Award-winning nine-part PBS television series. He is the author of six works of fiction, including In the Secret State and Mainland. Among his nonfiction books are the acclaimed biography Wodehouse: A Life and the memoir My Year Off: Recovering Life after a Stroke. In Globish, McCrum argues, "that a seismic shift in the foundations of our lingua franca has transformed [British and American English] from an expression of Anglo-American cultural sovereignty into a supra-national phenomenon, with its own powerful inner dynamic." (recorded 6/10/2010)
Tagged with “languages” (4)
Yiddish was the language of the Jewish Diaspora, the language of a people on the move across Europe. It has suffered a dramatic decline over the last century.
Daniel Everett discusses the Pirahã and their language. The language has no words for numbers, no words for right and left and lacks any examples of recursion. This last trait forces us to rethink everything we thought we knew about language.
The discussion of the Pirahã language itself is excellent, but Everett’s discussion of why endangered languages need to be preserved is absolutely fascinating. His recommendations for preserving endangered languages include preserving natives speaker’s land and their heath. He also recommends studying and documenting these languages over a long period of time, as he has done with the Pirahã language.
More information on this seminar is available at http://blog.longnow.org/2009/03/23/daniel-everett-endangered-languages-lost-knowledge-and-the-future/